Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Help with mistake

Hi everyone. I am looking for some advice/help as I am really panicking and haven’t slept. I have been getting Esa support group since 2014 due to several health issues. I still work part time and am self employed and was told I would be in the permitted work group when they filled the forms in for me at the benefits office. They asked me how many hours I worked a week and I told them on average 4-6 hrs a week. The reason I visit the benefits office was because I was signed off sick by the doctor as I had a big flair up of my arthritis for a few months which they couldn’t get under control and went to the benefits office to see if I could get sick pay and they put me on esa. 
 I have received a letter about a compliance telephone interview which I had and they have asked to see my tax returns and to sign and a42 form so they can see my bank accounts which they have sent out to me. This is the first time I have spoken to anyone about my claim in 7 years since I was put on it. I got a questionnaire several years ago about my illness but nothing since. After receiving the call I have checked online about esa and all the ins and outs of it. It says you can work up to 16 hours a week and earn up to £142 a week without it affecting your benefit. I only work the 4-6 hrs a week and this was all they asked me at the benefits office they never asked about how much I earned. Most of the time I don’t earn more than £142 a week but sometimes I am just over it. With being self employed I don’t get paid every week as invoices can take some time to pay so I worked it out monthly/yearly and some times I am just over the total amount allowed. 
I am now panicking  and my anxiety is out of control and my depression is starting to take over again as I am worried that I will be charged with fraud as I not that kind of person and have never been in trouble. 
I never asked to be put on esa they put me on it and they filled in all the paper work and asked all the questions. The only question they asked me about work was the amount of hours I worked a week. If there has been a mistake I would want to pay any money back that was given wrongly but it wasn’t my fault and I don’t want to get into serious trouble. Should I just contact them and tell them or speak to someone professional first about what to do. 
Any advice/help would be very much appreciated. Over the 7 years there is about 14 months I earned slightly more than I should have. 
Thanks

Replies

  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 1,742 Pioneering
    If you are self employed they are likely to look at your annual situational average it out. Presumably you have expenses which you incur so your earnings will be the difference between income and expenses. I assume you have all this information available for your returns.

    if you earnings were over the permitted limit then your were not entitled to ESA for those periods.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 10,106 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there I hope the info above will gave put your mind at rest a bit 

    I would wait and see what you hear back before taking any further action as it may just all be sorted without anything else happening 

    The time to seek advice is when they have looked into it all 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,586 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @krusty - & welcome to the community. Please don't worry; tho saying you were put onto ESA might be contentious, you stated what you knew at the time with the hours you worked, so any 'recoverable' expenses might not be so. You will not be charged with fraud; you sound like a very honest person. As calcotti mentions, & yourself, then if you might have an overpayment, you are willing to pay this back. However, if an error has occurred with this, the onus is on the DWP to prove it, so as mentioned above, before doing anything, wait to hear back.
  • krustykrusty Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you for your replies. 
    When I say I was put into esa I mean that Iit was the gentleman in the office who recommended it due to my situation. 
    I have to post the stuff back to them this week. Should I not saying anything until they come back to me or should I say about what I know now. I worry if I leave it they will think I am trying to be deceitful which I am not. 
    Thanks
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 1,742 Pioneering
    krusty said: When I say I was put into esa I mean that Iit was the gentleman in the office who recommended it due to my situation. 
    The alternative would have been JobSeekers Allowance so the advice to apply for ESA was good advice.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 10,106 Disability Gamechanger
    A you need to do is send the form back and provide the info they have asked for 

    Then wait and see what happens next if anything 
  • krustykrusty Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Should I cancel my esa claim now. 
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 10,106 Disability Gamechanger
    No there may be no reason to cancel wait as we said just send off what they have asked for and then wait for their response 

  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,731

    Scope community team

    edited April 19
    Hi @krusty and welcome to our community :)

    As our members have advised, there's no need to cancel your claim just yet.  It'd be best to send off the required documents and await to hear back.  

    Please try not to worry too much in the interim.  I know it's hard and you've also described having some difficulties with sleep, anxiety and depression which must be tough :(  Are you in contact with your GP about these?  If not, maybe it would be worth updating them on how you're feeling to get some advice.  

    If you need anyone to talk to anytime of the day, remember you can always contact:
    Please keep us updated with how you get on, and we're always about should you need to vent/get support.  Good luck. 
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